On Monday, February 29, 21 Rialto students toured NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena as part of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.
Students had the opportunity to visit the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, Space Flight Operations Facility, and the “Mars Yard” to see the twin of the Curiosity Mars Rover.
The My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (MBK), launched in February 2014, seeks to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and their siblings (girls) in reaching their full potential. A goal of the MBK initiative is to instill a passion for Computer Science, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson who accompanied the students to JPL, expressed her enthusiasm for the field trip. “This is an awesome day for the youth of Rialto, we are one of only four organizations visiting JPL today, and the only group selected from San Bernardino County.”
The City of Compton, Long Beach Neighborhood Services Bureau, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis also had representatives attend. Each entity was instructed to bring students who do not traditionally have the opportunity to visit local NASA Labs and Centers.
Ten of the local students selected are distinguished graduates from year one of Rialto’s e3p3 Gang Intervention and Prevention (GIP) program. Rialto Police Officer Javier Pulido and several other community-based organizations were instrumental in identifying youth from last year’s program who showed promise and interest in STEM.
The Rialto’s GIP project targets twelve-hundred Riverside University School District elementary and middle school students—they receive classroom instruction on being Resilient, Empowered, and Directed.
“This field trip advances our efforts of helping youth become directed, immensely!” says Nate Van Cleve – Project Manager from M.H.M. & Associates.
“I’m very excited,” said Rialto Frisbie Middle School 8th grader and year one Summer Bridge graduate Cassandra Alvarez, “I’m looking forward to learning about the Mars Rover.”
In its second year, the e3p3 GIP program receives grant funding from the Board of State of Community Corrections. For more information on Rialto’s GIP program, contact Rialto Police Office Javier Pulido at 909-421-4944.